You’ve saved for a down payment. You’ve found a realtor. You’ve been preapproved for a loan. It’s time to start searching for a home. At this point, you may wonder how to choose the right location for your home.
Choosing a home location is both challenging and important. Without narrowing your focus to a limited number of geographic areas, it’s difficult to filter down to a few properties that are serious contenders. Here are a few things to think about as you seek the perfect neighborhood:
- Home Profile: Simply knowing what type of home you’re looking for can help you pick a location. Are you interested in new development? That will narrow your options. Do you prefer historic homes? That, too, will limit your search. Also consider whether you want a single-family home, a townhome or a condo. Townhomes and condos are often clustered together, providing plenty of options if you want that style of home. In York, for example, you’ll find older homes (including row houses and a variety of options) in Doctors Row, Downtown East and Historic Newton Square, while you’ll find newer standalone homes in an area such as Devers.
- Proximity: Think about the places you go on a regular basis: work, school, church, shopping, family members’ homes, etc. How far are you willing to travel when you visit these places? If you want a short commute to work, that will help limit your search to a certain area. If you want your children to be able to walk to school, you need to choose a school that meets their needs and then look in that immediate area.
- Schools: Do you have children? As mentioned above, looking at area schools can help families with children more easily narrow their searches. Take a look at school-wide test scores. Visit the schools your children would attend. Talk to parents of students who attend those schools and talk to the students, too. This type of research can lead to great insight into class size, student performance, strength of extra-curricular activities and more.
- Crime statistics: After considering home profile, proximity and schools, you should have two or three neighborhoods in mind. Now take a look at crime statistics. Don’t expect to find an area with zero crime. Instead, research the types of criminal activity that happen in a prospective neighborhood. Be wary of any area with a high rate of assault or other violent crimes. Online tools such as the SpotCrime Crime Map can show you where arrests, arsons, assaults, burglaries, robberies, shootings, vandalism and other crimes are taking place in York, PA.
- Amenities and Services: You also want to consider how convenient an area will be for you and your family. Analyze the amenities and services in the area and ask yourself this question: Could I live happily without leaving the neighborhood? Think about nearby grocery stores and restaurants, entertainment venues and recreation. Consider public transportation access, especially if you commute. Where are the nearest hospitals and other healthcare facilities? If you travel a lot, proximity to an airport may be important. Drive the neighborhood and get a feel for how long it takes to reach major thoroughfares.
- Scouting: When you’re really serious about a neighborhood, spend significant time in it. It’s important to see your prospective street and the immediate area at different times of day and on different days of the week. What seems like a perfect neighborhood on Tuesday morning may have a completely different feel on Saturday night. Look at homes around yours. Talk to neighbors. Do everything possible to get the clearest vision of what life would be like if you and your family moved into a certain home.
There’s a lot to consider when choosing home location. If you’re new to the York area, or you simply want expert advice, CENTURY 21 Core Partners would be glad to help. Our team of realtors is deeply experienced and knowledgeable about York real estate. Contact us today.